Downtown BIA re-thinking how they handle business
Published Wednesday, January 23, 2019 5:51PM EST
Board members from London Downtown Business Association say they're taking steps to address the concerns of members that were raised at Tuesday night's Annual General Meeting.
But the board’s treasurer, John Fyfe-Millar, admits the AGM has left them in uncharted waters, “This is the first time this has ever happened for our BIA."
Business owners who attended the meeting were demanding accountability, with one telling the board, “This is everybody's money and I think we all have a right to know where the money is going."
Members in attendance voted against approving the 2019 budget, demanding a more detailed account of expenses, which has created some uncertainty for the board.
The arm of association that implements initiatives to support businesses is called Downtown London.
The office at 123 King Street is where paid staff members are based, but board leadership says not having a budget shouldn’t affect day-to-day operations.
But they say discretionary funding might be impacted. One example; Board Chair Gerald Gallacher expects the hiring of summer students will be suspended.
Fyfe-Millar says the interim board approved on Tuesday will work to quickly address concerns raised at the AGM, starting with the distribution of detailed budget information.
"Our plan is to have the budget and the audited financial statements out, either later [Wednesday] or out first thing [Thursday] morning, electronically to the membership."
The next board meeting is scheduled for the end of June but Fyfe-Millar is expecting an emergency meeting of all members will be called within a couple of weeks.
He believes this process can only benefit the downtown.
“The more engaged the membership is, the more the members get out of it, the more the board can do for them. And I think that's what you saw last night."
City administration also has an interest in the process as the city collects taxes based on the square footage of a business and directs that money to the association.
City bylaws also dictate the governance structure and membership make-up of the board.
City lawyer Barry Card is planning discussions with board representatives and with a group of members who have been demanding a restructuring of the London Downtown Business Association leadership.